Six Must-Know Facts about Suicide Causes and Prevention

six-must-know-facts-about-suicide-causes-and-preventionSuicide is often considered a taboo topic. But, the facts about it are too important to keep quiet. According the the American Foundation for Suicide prevention, 3,891 Texans lost their lives to suicide in 2019.[1]

Each life that’s cut short is one too many. But, knowing the facts about suicide is one of the first steps in breaking the stigma that surrounds it, and in helping those at risk for ending their own lives. Continue reading

An Interconnected Challenge: Physical Health in the Shadow of Mental Illness

Mental health challenges impact far more than the brain. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), individuals living with a serious mental illness have an increased risk for chronic disease—in some cases, a greatly elevated risk. For example, they are nearly twice as likely to develop cardiovascular and metabolic conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. And, adding to this struggle are the numerous ways that dealing with a mental illness makes it more challenging to pursue good overall heath.

This interconnected challenge leads not only to lower quality of life, but shorter length of life. NAMI reports that the life expectancy of people diagnosed with serious mental illness is 11-30 years shorter than that of the general population. Continue reading

Seven Ways to Support Family Caregivers

When someone has cancer or is experiencing another health issue, friends and extended family members often surround that person and his or her household with support in the form of everything from meal delivery to assistance with rides to cards of encouragement. However, when the challenge at hand is a mental health struggle, the response is often quite the opposite, and many times family caregivers are left feeling alone and overwhelmed.

Families impacted by mental illness desperately need the support and assistance of a caring community! Thankfully, there are many ways friends and extended family can help, providing a lifeline to caregivers. Continue reading

When Work Doesn’t Work

Well Community member Nathan* used to work. He liked to work. He wants to work again. But the challenges of living with bipolar disorder make steady work impossible. Coping with mental illness often occupies a great deal of his focus and energy and keeps him from being able to concentrate on the job. “My mind won’t stop. Even though I’m treated [with medication], my mind still races a lot, and it’s to the point where it keeps me awake at nighttime.”

As a result, Nathan has struggled to multitask in jobs, and recalls how he often wasn’t able to keep up with production while working at a factory. “I can’t have a whole bunch [of directions] in my head because I get things mixed up. In the work environment, sometimes they would just pile things on top of me. It just becomes overwhelming.” Continue reading

Seven Myths About Mental Illness and Homelessness

Living with a mental illness presents serious challenges when a person has stable housing. But, when an individual living with a mental health condition is without a safe, stable place to live, their struggles are multiplied. Mental illness and homelessness are compounding issues that can contribute to one another and create a cycle that makes it incredibly difficult for those caught in it to pursue stability.

The myths that surround these two issues can create a host of misconceptions that only add to the weight of struggle carried by those experiencing both mental illness and homelessness. The statements below represent several of the most common—and most harmful—myths about people living with these challenges. Continue reading

How Stigma Hurts Everyone

In recent years, our culture has become more aware of the harm that stigma inflicts on those living with mental illness. Negative attitudes, discrimination and prejudice again those dealing with mental health challenges can not only be hurtful, but can prevent these individuals from seeking help as well as from securing jobs, finding housing and forming relationships. However, this stigma touches far more than merely the individuals who struggle with mental health conditions. Continue reading

No Matter What

“Family isn’t always blood. It’s the people in your life who want you in theirs. The ones who accept you for who you are. The ones that would do anything to see you smile, and who love you no matter what.” (source unknown)

Angel, Well member

Members of The Well Community know these thoughts to be so very true. And being at “home for the holidays” means many different things to our members. Because of stigma, homelessness and other challenges that often come with mental illnesses, some of our members have learned to develop family units with people who understand and share their lived experiences. Some do live with their family of origin, while others live with siblings or with a spouse. And as described below, some live together as members of The Well. Continue reading